BAW Across the Continents 2013: Europe

On our virtual journey, we’ve discovered how Brain Awareness Week is being celebrated in Africa, Asia, Australia, North America, and South America. On our last leg of BAW Across the Continents, we travel back across the Atlantic.

With more than 300 events in 26 nations, Brain Awareness Week is a big deal in Europe. Among the 26 participating nations, the most active are: Croatia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Romania, Italy, and Spain.

Baw UKBAW 2011: Newcastle University, United Kingdom (Credit: Chris Auld)

Thanks to some very active BAW Partners, Croatia, with more than 70 events has become one of the most active nations participating in Brain Awareness Week. Their events cover a range of topics, but one that stood out there was dance. One event, titled, “Dancing Brain—Neuroscience of Motion,” includes the performance of modern dances created as a collaboration between a professional dancer and a neuroscientist. Another event, “PDP –PowerDance Presentation,” in Osijek, builds off the concept that ideas might be more effectively presented through dance than through traditional methods such as PowerPoint. Dancers will use speech and movement to illustrate the importance of dance in early brain development. I like the approach; I definitely would’ve paid more attention in Math class if my teacher had danced about Pascal’s triangle.

With nearly 50 events, the United Kingdom is also having an active Brain Awareness Week. In Liverpool’s “Head Matters Tea Party,” BAW partners will be stressing the importance of helmets for brain safety through talks, activities, a choir recital, and even a samba band. Also in Liverpool, a museum will hold  a family oriented fair tackling the subject of “brain bugs.” Exhibits and hands-on demonstrations will illustrate everything you need to know about disease-causing bugs that can invade your brain. In London, BAW Partners launched a BrainyApp that allows you to take part in neuroscience experiments by playing fun games on the go.

With so many events in so many nations throughout the rest of Europe it is difficult to highlight just a few, but we’ll try. In Heroldsberg, Germany, Brain Awareness Week will involve an interactive magic performance and fairy tales for elementary school students. In Rome, Italy, lecturers will give a series of short talks on the brain and the economic crisis, including topics like neuroeconomics, social ethics, pathological gambling, and suicide.

In Serbia, university students around the nation have worked together to coordinate a nationwide Brain Awareness Week program: 30 organizations in four cities will play host to events from science to art, in venues from the public streets to indoor parties. And, in Spain, a panel of neuroscience and olive oil experts will discuss how a principal molecule found in olive oil is being used experimentally in spinal cord injury regeneration and functional recovery. Next time you dip a piece of bread in olive oil, remind your spinal cord to thank you.

This concludes our look at the BAW events all around the globe! But never fear: Brain Awareness Week 2014 will be March 10-16.

– Simon Fischweicher

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